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Mayonnaise (Recipes: homemade mayonnaise and egg salad)

Guest post by Julia in Cambridge. Photos by David.

Every Saturday lunch when I was growing up, my mother made chicken sandwiches with the leftover roast chicken and challah from our Friday night Shabbat dinner. She slathered the bread with mayonnaise mixed with mustard.

On Tuesday nights, she served steamed artichokes or asparagus. And to entice my sister and me into eating our vegetables, she put out little dishes of mayonnaise mixed with ketchup. If the adage were true, that “you are what you eat,” I’d have been a bulbous, blue-lidded jar of Hellmann’s. 

Of course, I didn’t realize mayonnaise came in any other form than from a jar. Until I went to cooking school. There, I learned to make mayo by hand, from scratch: starting with 12 egg yolks and a spoonful of mustard in a bowl.

With one hand I would whisk the eggs vigorously, and with the other, I slowly drizzled in the oil, one gallon in total. When the oil and eggs would miraculously come together into a homogenous, thick and creamy spread –- in other words, emulsified -- I had mayo, and a sore shoulder. If I got impatient, and drizzled too fast, the mayonnaise would "break" -- the oil and eggs would separate.  

Some might say that I’m impatient, for I quickly mastered the art of fixing broken mayonnaise.

After I'd added the first cup of oil, it would be clear if the emulsification was working: if the mixture was still thin (as in oil-thin) and grainy, it had broken, and I had to start over. Not completely from scratch, though. In a clean bowl, I put 1/4 cup of warm (body-temperature) water. I used the broken mayo-mess and incorporated it as if it were still oil: slowly drizzling it into the water while I whisked frantically. Of course, when fixing broken mayo, I learned to drizzle extra slowly. When the broken mayo was incorporated, I continued adding the rest of the oil. When the mayo would start to thicken, I'd know that my repair had worked.

To make your mayonnaise, the food processor works as well as, if not better than, a whisk. For small batches, using only one or two egg yolks, you will need to add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water so that the blades can catch the yolks and start the emulsification process.  

Did you know that the pusher of the food processor has a little hole in the bottom? It's designed especially for people like me who drizzle too fast. If you fill the pusher with oil it will slowly drop into the food processor at just the right pace. It’s almost fool-proof, but still double check after the first 1/4 cup; stop the motor to make sure the mayo is getting thick.

Homemade mayonnaise lasts for a week in the fridge. If you don't have the time or inclination to make your own, the fine folks at Hellmann’s offer the next best thing (some may argue the best thing): all-natural and free of the beleaguered high fructose corn syrup. Whole Foods sells a canola-based mayo, but in my opinion the oil tastes rancid.

With a base mayonnaise, you can make dozens of different sauces. For crudités, I mix in tons of fresh tarragon and scallions to make a green goddess dip. For corn fritters or a turkey sandwich, I mix in chipotles, cilantro and red onions. Try capers and tarragon in a base for crab cakes. The possibilities are limitless.

Homemade mayonnaise and egg salad

Always better than store-bought. Makes 2 cups.

For the mayonnaise:
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup warm water
1 heaping tsp Dijon mustard
1-1/2 cups canola or vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste (approximately 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper)


For the egg salad:
6 eggs
1 Tbsp fresh tarragon
2 scallions
1-1/2 tsp capers
1/2 celery stalk
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste


In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, add egg yolks, water and mustard. Turn the motor on, and blend for 30 seconds, or until the eggs begin to look pale yellow. Slowly drizzle in the oil, at first just a few drops at a time, then 1 Tbsp at a time until you’ve added approximately 1/2 cup. Stop the motor to make sure the mayo is emulsifying. If so, continue to add the oil in a slow steady stream. When oil is completely incorporated, season to taste with salt and pepper, plus any other additional seasonings (herbs, chiles, curry, etc.).

In a large pot, gently place raw eggs. Cover by 1 inch with cold water. Put pot over a high flame and bring to a boil. After the water comes to a boil, continue cooking for 1 minute, then remove the pan from heat and put a lid on it. Let the eggs sit, covered and off the heat, for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.

Meanwhile, chop the tarragon, scallion, capers and celery.


When eggs are cool, peel them. Cut into quarters and combine them in a bowl with the chopped seasonings, or chop all together on a cutting board.  


Mix with mayonnaise and use a fork to mash the eggs into smaller pieces. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:

Caesar dip
Panko crusted baked chicken
Crab cakes
Chicken fingers
Deviled eggs

Need more ideas for how to create salads with pizzazz? Get Dress Up Your Salad, my e-book packed with easy mix-and-match recipes, full-color photos and a few fun videos. Exciting salad recipes from everyday ingredients can be just one click away, on any computer, tablet or smart phone, with the FREE Kindle Reading app. Click here to learn more.

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YUM! My mum and Nan alwasy made mayo from scratch when i was growing up this egg salad looks delish! i was watchin the travel channel the other wk and it was bizarre foods prob spelt wrong but i love that show he was in japan i think i maybe wrong..but he said they have mayo bars... where everything is mayo..from mayo shakes...to mayo soup and other awful mayo deserts! Watchin his face as he slurped down a icey cold mayo shake was awful! anyway sorry for sharing that silly tidbit of info lol.

Recently, I've been worried about consuming raw eggs -- do you use pasteruized eggs, and does it work just as well?

Great post, and I have to confess I've never made mayonnaise although I love it so much. In Utah that concoction of mayo and ketchup that Julia's mom made is called "fry sauce" and it's served for dipping french fries. Never tried it on other vegetables.

The egg salad looks delightful. Capers and tarragon, can't go wrong there!

I have always wanted to make my own Mayo but it seemed like magic to me, egg yolks and oil to thick and creamy. I am game to give it a try.

I always make my own mayo, can't beat it. I find that if I buy it I always find a half eaten old jar in the back of the fridge. Not so with fresh. I make my own mustard as well, and we use chutneys instead of catsup.

I really need to make more homemade mayo..definitely more superior than store-bought!

Hellman's as they make it now is not the mayo of my childhood. They have forfeited the crown... We use Cain's, which I think is an East Coast supermarket brand -- better ingredients, better taste and not pricey. ...around my house, mayo + ketchup = Russian dressing, mostly for sandwiches or my husband's favorite, wedge of iceberg salad. With a broken food processor, I'll wait for homemade.

Kira -- Mayo-shakes? Hmm. I think that would be where i draw the line.

Mae -- Pasteurized eggs work great too!

Kalyn -- we called it "Charlotte's dressing" named after my grandmother. I imagine I'd like it on french fries too!

Vicki - I agree. It's miraculous have two thin ingredients combine to be thicker and creamier.

Chiot's Run - I'm impressed you make your own mustard! Do you make it in the style of dijon or whole grain?

Vernon - You said it!

Susan -- Interesting... I've never tried Cain, and it is based here in New England. I see a taste test in my future.

I always love food stories that start with childhood memories!

I had no idea that the pusher had a hole for too fast drizzlers like us!
This is the best news I have had in a long time. My first mayo was such a wonderful experience and then I had the heartache of the next one separating. Now I can rely on my pusher. God bless the pusher, man!

I am Judith, the mother of Julia, who offered the mayo recipe. I love reading her posts (I Really love eating her food!) I am very intrigued by Kalyn's comment "Charlotte's Dressing." Is her Charlotte the same Charlotte as Julia's grandmother? What I used to call "1,000 Island" dressing, my daughters started to call Charlotte's Dressing, because they associated it with their grandmother Charlotte.

I tried making mayonnaise once and totally failed at it. I will try again and follow your advice next time.

Also, I LOVE love egg salad. I have a thing for it, and sometimes go through phases of eating it all the time, and I am in one of those phases right now. I've been experimenting with different blends and I like the tarragon here. Will give it a go.

Great post! I love egg salad and after reading this, I have such a desire to head to the kitchen and whip some up---if only it weren't past midnight!

Oddly, I was just thinking that I should go searching for Mayonnaise recipes. I love egg salad also but put a bit of a twist on it (I smoke the eggs). So making my own mayonnaise would give me better control over the out come almost any mayo that I have tried just misses in some way. Also I like the idea of being able to add something – perhaps chives?
I am also worried about using fresh eggs, but I'm thinking that for this in the Farmers Market there is a vender that does sell eggs. Humm - the possibilities.

EB - Thankfully I have many FOND childhood memories.

Natashya, It's the little things, isn't it, that can change your world? Glad I could share that tip with you.

Mom, That was me responding to Kalyn's comment. In Utah, they call it fry sauce.

Melissa, what other combos do you make?

Sandie -- it would make a great breakfast, too. ;-)

Kim -- Smoked Eggs??? ooh, I love it! As soon as I can dig out my grill from a blanket of snow...

It's sooo much better when it's homemade, right?

Great photos! LOVE your egg salad for grownups! I've made mayonnaise from scratch before - I learned in school took a lot of muscle power, so I'm game to try the food processor approach.

This looks like heaven to me! I am somewhat of an egg salad addict. I love the stuff! I will have to try making some homemade mayo. I can imagine how good it is.

Nothing like good ol' egg salad.

I totally forgot about egg salad. I used to have that in sandwich form way too much as a kid--I loved the stuff! And since I haven't tried my hand at making my own mayo yet, this sounds like it could be a fun project in the near future

My mind is a sieve - I did not tell you how to smoke eggs.

Make a strong tea of Lapsang Souchong (1 tsp for every cup of water). The tea should be a very dark brown almost like weak coffee.
boil and peel eggs
Put the peeled eggs in the tea for at lease 24 hours. The effect you are going for will make the eggs turn milk chocolate brown.

The longer you leave them in the smokier the taste and the darker the egg will be. (play with this). The eggs will have a distinct smoke flavor.

If you want to make fancy boiled eggs you can crack the shells of the eggs and then soak them in the Lapsang Souchong tea and when peeled they will look as if they are marbled.

Actually Lapsang Souchong tea can be used to add a smoked flavor to a lot of things.

So no need to get out the grill.

I love homemade mayonnaise, which I made for the first time last year. It was not as hard as I had thought it would be. And now you have provided me with an excellent sounding egg salad. And just in time for Easter!

ahh the old "Cains Vs. Hellman's" debate!

I grew up in NH - My mother bought Hellmans.

My Husband grew up in the Boston area. Cains was the only mayonaise in his life.

Although I never eat it - "miricle whip" seems just like mayonaise to me - He considers it a totally different animal and doesn't eat either.

I don't see my self making homemade but always love it when stumbled upon in fancy restuarants ( or it's cousin Aioli)

Darius -- Homemade is definitely better. It's really a different flavor profile.

T.W. - the food processor is easier on the muscles... and I don't think there's a huge difference in taste.

Susan -- I'm an addict too.

peabody -- you said it!

Mike -- sounds like you had a good childhood!

Kim - ah, yes, I've heard of tea-soaked eggs. But I definitely like the idea of smoking them. I'm going to try that and will report back to you.

Gudrun -- Yes, Easter! Thanks for the reminder.

Carol -- I'm sure Lydia will weigh in on the Miracle Whip. I recall it being sweeter than mayo.

Hey Julia! I came back! :P

Nothing special, just red onions, celery (which I didn't like), mayo, Dijon, regular yellow mustard (which I preferred over the Dijon, oddly enough), pickle juice because my husband makes great deviled eggs with it... nothing high class hahaha. But I've been on a tarragon kick lately, so I'm thinking I'll try it in this. I hope I can succeed at making my own mayo though. I'm so thrown off by the mess of last time.

Hey everyone, I share your enthusiasm on homemade... everything, sadly I'm not so good at it, mainly from lack of experience.
My sister Vera, she is younger than me, dose wonders in the chicken, she is just great but she always pics on me for being so clumsy :). So I thought, Easter is coming and I want to make something that would really surprise her. I think I might find my inspiration going through this blog or by talking to you guys.

Ooo, I should have found this post about a week ago!! I have recently started on a cooking class and one of the first things we did last saturday was make our own mayonaise. It was surprisingly easy but I am now left with a large batch of mayonaise and didn't know what to do with it exactly untill I just read your suggestions which are excellent! I still have a few days before it becomes unedible so I will definitely make the egg salad! Thanks for all those great tips!

Melissa -- I'm glad you came back. Your egg salad sounds great too! I also sometimes add pickle relish.

Monica -- This recipe is pretty easy,so hopefully you can impress her!

Simone -- Glad to help :)

Definitely been on a make-my-own kick lately, so mayonnaise will have to join the list. Not a huge fan of the jarred stuff anyway, so I'm all for trying something better. The egg salad looks great too!

Ok, got the fresh eggs and I was steeling myself up for quite the project, but was foiled by the pusher of the food processor. It ended up dumping stuff in the food processor letting it spin for a bit and then just add the oil and watch "sigh" was more like watching grass grow. Sure the end results were wonderful, but I just was hoping for just a little drama, this was so boring I can't even get any bragging rights.

Thank you so much for the mayo recipe and the tip about the hole in the food processor thingie- I had no idea.
I made homemade mayo earlier today using an electric hand mixer. For some reason it had a really strang taste to it that I just could not put my finger on (I ended up putting it in the garbage). Was wondering if you had any thoughts on the matter. I used canola oil, egg yolk and lemon juice.

I always make egg salad when I can't think of anything else I want to eat. Always hits the spot. Have you ever heard that you do not cover the eggs when you have leftovers. I did not cover the leftovers and the salad dried out immediately.Would like some info about this.

Tried this for the first time today as I had two leftover egg yolks from dinner recipe. Never made homemade before but I am super happy with the results and can't wait to try out on the family for lunch today.

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